In a thoroughly unexpected piece of casting news, former Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage is reportedly set to play the title character in Legendary’s upcoming remake of the Troma trash classic The Toxic Avenger. The film will be directed by Macon Blair, who made his debut with Netflix’s I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, starring Elijah Wood and Melanie Lynskey.
The Toxic Avenger, known to his friends as “Toxie,” is the most enduringly popular creation of the low-budget shlockmeisters at legendary zero-taste film studio Troma Entertainment. Troma carved out a niche for itself in the 1980s and 1990s in particular by specializing in over-the-top gory and scatalogical action films, comedies and horror movies, but no character was more associated with the brand than Toxie, who first appeared in 1984’s Toxic Avenger as a nerd who becomes a rampaging monster protecting his small home town after exposure to toxic waste. The film, directed by the classic Troma combo of Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz, was followed by a string of sequels with increasingly silly names, such as The Last Temptation of Toxie and Citizen Toxie. According to Deadline, Kaufman and Herz would be joining this production as producers, as might be expected.
Dinklage, however, isn’t the performer you’d expect for a Toxic Avenger revival, although he has shown great willingness to embrace self-deprecating humor in the past. One has to wonder if, once he becomes Toxie, his character will grow to a more towering stature, or whether a smaller Toxie is all part of the gag. With the minds from Troma, it’s never easy to say what might be considered too risque.
And in the end, that’s really what makes us wary of a Toxic Avenger reboot in the first place—is it even possible to make even a semi-wide release film in 2021 that would contain half the offensive material of your average Troma picture? This studio was defined by its bad taste, grossout gore, rampant sexuality and misogyny and more. It’s something of a relic of its era, and not likely the kind of thing that modern viewers would be willing to look past. And sure, they could de-claw The Toxic Avenger, but then what’s the point of remaking it?
We’ll have to see what kind of tightrope they ultimately choose to walk on this one, but we don’t think a Toxic Avenger remake is going to be easy to pull off, regardless of who’s playing the title character.